My CMS News and Ideas on Telemedicine in Florida

October 20, 2015

What Exactly is Telehealth?

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbondsullivan @ 12:59 pm

20 October 2015

Pinning down a definition of Telehealth versus Telemedicine can be quite difficult – even though it seems pretty apparent what we are talking about. But it isn’t. Here are some of the definitions attempted in Florida in the last year. These are important because they will tend to describe the boundaries within which doctors practice:

American Telemedicine Association – What is Telemedicine?

…telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status.

Florida Senate – SB 1646 – 2014 Legislative Session

“Telemedicine” means the practice of medicine through the use of advanced communications technology by a telemedicine provider at a distant site…

CS/SB 478: Telehealth  and CS/HB 545: Telehealth  – 2015 Legislative Session

(a) “Telehealth” means the use of synchronous or asynchronous telecommunications technology by a telehealth provider to provide health care services, including, but not limited to, patient assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, and monitoring; the transfer of medical data; patient and professional health-related education; public health services; and health care administration…

Florida Board of Medicine – 64B8-9.0141

“Telemedicine” means the practice of medicine by a licensed Florida physician or physician assistant where patient care, treatment, or services are provided through the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications.

Each of these definitions puts a somewhat different spin on the use of telecommunication technologies by doctors. Each definition adds something of value, but each is limited by its own perspective. A different approach to defining telehealth might be sought in the use cases for telehealth. It is the application of the technologies of telehealth that describes what telehealth is, not necessarily the technologies….

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